To Jamie Morgan, the face is more important than the clothes. In one photograph from his Buffalo Classics collection, a boy no older than twelve with one pierced ear and chapped lips squints provocatively at the viewer. Nonmodels bring an unprocessed element into glossy magazines. He finds it refreshing to work with untrained faces, rather than big names like Nike, Armani, and Taylor Swift. The Buffalo movement, as this aesthetic is known, created a new genre of street photography that can now be seen everywhere from Vogue to Humans of New York. Morgan is a Renaissance man. He works in film as well as still photography, writing songs for his videos and therefore mixing his love of music and imagery. He is now planning to launch a retrospective featuring 30 years of his work.
HOW DID YOU MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM REPORTAGE TO FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY?
Well, really, I started having an attraction to girls. I was working for this fashion photographer (Terence Donovan), so I was learning fashion photography as a job. And then I started going out with one of the models. I began to like the beauty of fashion. So I took that fashion beauty into the reportage style. That’s why my fashion is more edgy. I don’t always go for pretty girls; I go for characters, because that was my original thing.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
I would say my type of photography is fashion portraiture. So I’m not a straight-up fashion photographer, in the sense that there’s one picture with similar repeats of the same picture. I like to make each shot a very specific portrait, rather than a series of fashion images around the clothes. It’s always the person. It’s fashion conscious, but it’s essentially a portrait.